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interwoven throughout the whole contexture, both of the law and the gospel. Like the ancient artist who
so inscribed his name on the temple he built, that it was impossible to erase the one without destroying the other, the great Author of revelation has so constructed the revealed system, that without a total relinquishment of its authority, it is impossible, with any degree of consistency, to deny the vicarious nature and expiatory efficacy of the sufferings and death of Jesus. So long as the Lord's supper continues in the church; so long as the words of institution are repeated, and the instituted symbols displayed; there shall never be wanting to the church a clear demonstration, that the death of Christ as a sacrifice for sin, was a doctrine of the primitive age of Christianity.
The truth which we have now been considering completes the important proposition, of which we consider the Lord's supper as an emblematical representation. And of all the wonderful truths which it im plies, this is questionless the most wonderful. That the Son of God should become incarnate, is strange; that the incarnate Son of God should suffer and die, is still stranger; but most strange of all is the fact, that the incarnate Son of God should suffer and die in the room of sinful men, to obtain their salvation.. "O the depth, both of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!"
But while we are amazed with the strangeness, and confounded by the grandeur of the truths thus taught. us, let us rejoice that the proposition is not more strange and overwhelming, than true and consolatory.
The view which we have now taken of the Lord's supper, as an emblematical representation of the leading principles of the Christian system, is calculated to
suggest to the reflecting mind, much important practical truth, in reference to the proper mode of observing this holy ordinance. The Lord's supper teaches by emblems, what the preaching of the gospel teaches in express terms; and our duty in reference to both is substantially the same-to yield a ready assent to the truths made known, and a hearty acquiescence in the plan of salvation exhibited, and to cherish a state of feeling corresponding to this assent and acquiescence.
It is ever to be remembered, that a mere mental contemplation of the truths emblematically represented, is by no means all that is required, in order to observing the Lord's supper with acceptance and advantage. Something more is necessary. We must not merely survey with attention the symbolical representation; we must take a part in it-we must "take-and eat.” In other words, we must rely on the atoning sacrifice of the incarnate, suffering, and dying Saviour for salvation. This is "to eat the flesh, and to drink the blood of the Son of man ;" and without this there can be no fellowship with him in his righteousness and grace. As it is not enough for our salvation, that the Son of God has become incarnate, suffered, and died, as an atoning sacrifice, unless we, by believing the record of God, "set to our seal that God is true;" so it is not enough in order to worthy communicating, that we admit the general truth of these principles,--we must also receive "Christ Jesus" as thus exhibited, “made of God to us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption."
THE DESIGN AND OBLIGATION OF THE LORD'S
LUKE XXII. 19.
This do in remembrance of me.
THE recital of these words is calculated to call up in the mind a train of recollection peculiarly solemn, interesting, and instructive. Retracing in imagination, guided by faith, the ages which are long since gone by, we find ourselves transported to the land of Palestine to the city of Jerusalem. An unusual stillness reigns in the streets of the holy city: for the descendants of Abraham, assembled from the most distant parts of the land of promise, are now celebrating the feast of the passover, in commemoration of Jehovah's goodness to their fathers, in delivering them from the bondage of Egypt. Along the almost deserted streets, a small company of Jews are perceived passing with hurried step; and following them, we soon enter a large upper chamber, where all due preparation is made for their observing the sacred festival.
The company is small, but it is select. Judging from external appearances, we should conclude that it was
composed of obscure individuals, of the lower orders of society. Yet in truth it is an assemblage, with but one exception, of the most dignified and worthy personages who ever trode the theatre of our world. There is one far elevated above the rest, by the dignity of his nature, the perfection of his character, and the importance of his office. His name among men is Jesus of Nazareth. By nature he is the Son of God; by office, the Saviour of mankind. His attendants form a motley group;→ men of different dispositions, educations, and habits; men at this time obscure and unnoticed, but destined soon to become illustrious, as the chief agents in establishing Christianity in the world.
The purpose for which they were met, was of itself calculated to produce in a devout mind a solemnity of feeling; and the minds of the disciples were more than usually agitated, by the intimation which their Master had lately given them of a scene of extreme suffering, in which for their sakes he was soon to be involved. That impressive silence which such a state of mind naturally produces, was at last broken by the Saviour in these impressive words: "With desire have I desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer; for I say untò you, I will not any more eat thereof, till it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God." During the pascal feast, he discoursed with them of the decease he was about to accomplish; and at its conclusion, taking the cup of thanksgiving, he gives it to the disciples, saying, "Take this, and divide it among yourselves; for I say unto you, that I shall no more drink of the fruit of the vine, till I drink it new with you in the kingdom of God."
Such were the interesting circumstances in which the holy ordinance of the Lord's supper was instituted. To form, however, any adequate idea of the solemnity and interest of the scene, we must look farther than
outward appearances; we must take a view of the varied feelings which then agitated the Saviour's heart. The cloud of sorrow which had darkened all his days, had now assumed a portentous blackness, and threatened immediately to pour forth its wrathful contents on his devoted head. To his comprehensive mind, the whole scene of his sufferings lay full disclosed. The treachery of Judas, and the cowardice of the rest of the disciples, the insults of the populace, and the cruelties of the soldiers, the systematic malignity of the Roman governor, the shame of the scourge, and the pain of the cross, the dereliction of divine comforts, and the inflictions of divine wrath ;-all these, and a thousand other terrific anticipations, were present to his thoughts.
Possessed of an acuteness of sensibility proportioned to the power of his understanding, the Saviour, even then, must have been subjected to a degree of suffering, ineffable, inconceivable. It might have been expected that personal suffering so severe, should have occupied all his thoughts; and that the sorrows of an hour so awful, should have precluded all sympathy with the comparatively slight afflictions of his friends. But rising above the difficulties of his situation, with a magnanimity altogether godlike, he seems to forget his own sufferings, and occupies himself chiefly in alleviating the griefs of his disconsolate followers. Such were the circumstances, and such the feelings of the Saviour, when he instituted the ordinance of the Supper.
In that night in which he was to fall a victim to the treachery of a professed friend, and the fury of open enemies; to endure the united pressure of human malignity, diabolical rancour, and divine wrath; in that night, ever attentive to the happiness of his people, the Saviour took bread. Lifting up his heart with his hands to God in the heavens, he gave thanks